6 Predictions for How Online Communications Will Change in 2014

Over the past year, we’ve seen major shifts in online communications.

In early 2013, for example, bite-sized video hadn’t even been launched. But Vine is now a major player in digital storytelling and Instagram has video too! Here we reveal our predictions for how online communications will continue to change in 2014.

LinkedIn is the New Facebook
I think LinkedIn is going to become the place to connect and engage online in 2014. When it repositioned itself as a publisher of original content in late 2012, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities and connections for individual users, nonprofits and brands. In fact, the launch of the ‘Influencers’ program even has some crying “brilliant!” With more than 259 million members across the globe, nonprofits should seriously consider LinkedIn as a candidate for their communications strategies this year.
– Jennie Day-Burget

Google+ Comes Into Its Own
After Google launched its social network in 2011, pundits dismissed it as a “ghost town.” Meanwhile, Google+ added new members at a furious pace and with 540 million monthly users now ranks second in size only to Facebook. How exactly Google integrates its social network into search operations remains to be seen, but it’s impossible to imagine Google+ will not become an important factor in the famously secret algorithm. 2014 is the year when nonprofit community managers need to get on Google+.
– Mac Prichard

Bite-Sized Visuals Bloom
2014 will be the year to think small…in terms of visual media, that is. Trends are growing toward having shorter videos and information that can quickly be digested by utilizing platforms including Instagram video messages, Vine, gifs, and even easy-to-read infographics. Nonprofits can use these tools to create content that shows more of the organization’s personality and story in quick clips and visuals that are short, sweet, and likely to get shared. See our past reporting on Vine and Instagram for nonprofits here, here and here.
– Ashley Heinonen

More Nonprofits Realize the Power of Free Advertising
Google Grants has been around for years, but has managed to fly under the radar, which is surprising since participating nonprofits can receive up to $10,000 worth of advertising—per month. These ads pop up when you search for something on Google, like “nonprofits in Portland, Oregon” or “violence prevention programs.” This is great for exposure to people actively searching for the kind of work your nonprofit does, and will become a key digital marketing tool for nonprofits in 2014.
-David Backes

Pinterest Blows Up
I predict that by the end of 2014, Pinterest will be as important to an organization as Facebook currently is. Visuals are one of the most effective engagement tools on social media, and Pinterest allows more visual creativity than Facebook or Instagram. Make-a-Wish America and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network are already ahead of the game with strong Pinterest followings. Use them as inspiration in your own Pinterest strategy, and keep up with the changing tide of social media! For more on Pinterest, see our past reporting here.
– Cecilia Bianco

The Year of the (Really Short) Story
With human attention spans shrinking to as little as eight seconds, I predict that 2014 will be the “Year of the Short Story.” Strategic nonprofits, like Playworks, have used short video storytelling to help people connect what they do with who they serve. The Goodman Center has been teaching the art of good storytelling for years. I predict that nonprofits—especially our clients in health and human services—will learn to be brief to achieve great success in 2014.
– Lori Howell

There you have it—six different takes on how online communications might change in 2014.

Of course, we don’t have a crystal ball of our own so we’d love to hear your thoughts too! Use the comments box below to tell us how you think communications will change in 2014.

David Backes

David Backes, former account manager at Prichard, acted as Prichard's in-house techie nerd. Don't let this fool you though–David has been known to spend time away from his computer screen and enjoys riding his bike around Portland (rain or shine) or working to perfect his caramelized onion recipe. David also races his bike during the cyclocross season at the mildly competitive beginner level.
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